Close Encounter in the Woods

Last night, Jennifer posted about our foray into hog hunting. We were originally intending to go with Daniel S, but that fell through at the last minute due to work constraints. I’m sure we’ll catch up with him at a later date. Jennifer tells about us sitting in the dark, waiting for the legal time to start shooting and waiting for the pigs to explore the bait we left out for them.

The property where we hunted is a family farm, and there is a small tree blind permanently mounted on the premises. The original assumption was that we were going to set up in this tree blind. When we scouted on Friday, I climbed the blind to inspect it. Not. Gonna. Happen. The dilapidated 2×4 construction is approximately 3.5-feet long and maybe 18-inches wide, missing several boards, and has a ‘hand rail’ consisting of a young, green branch tacked to two trees with a few nails and some twine. Although the whole thing is probably no more than nine feet in the air, it ticked my acrophobia all over the place and felt more like fifty feet. So for better or for worse, we decided to set up in the brush underneath the tree blind (I really hate irrational fears).

We arrived at our location on Saturday morning and were set up and waiting by 6:00. We had a pint-sized thermos full of espresso and a quart-sized thermos full of apple cider. We had each brought our M4geries, loaded up with high-dollar ammo in special magazines, and we each had a .22 rifle as well, in case of small game. So, there we sat in the dark with our rifles, warm drinks, and nature. We quietly whispered to each other from time to time, but mostly sat quietly listening to the stillness around us. You ever get that feeling you’re being watched? Has that feeling ever caused some level of small panic? Sometime between cups of coffee, the feeling hit us and the hair stood up on my neck. It was about 6:30 when we heard movement in the brush to our left. It had to be around fifteen yards out, moving slowly. We could hear each deliberate footstep crackling in the leaves and pushing twigs aside. It was a dark and moonless prior to sunrise, and nothing was visible through the brush in the ambient light. When we attempted to use our flashlights, the brush was thick enough that the subsequent glare completely obscured what was behind or within it. When lit, the animal would remain still and wait for us to turn the lights off. After a few seconds, we would hear it creep again. It circled around behind us, where the road is, and slowly approached us, coming down the foot trail that we had come down earlier. Again, we attempted to light it, but could not see the animal. For the record, if I had seen Bigfoot on my first hunting trip out in the woods, I wouldn’t tell anybody. Eventually, the animal’s curiosity was satiated, or it decided that we weren’t all that interesting, or it decided that we didn’t look like we were worth the effort for breakfast. One way or another, it left the way it came, and slinked into the adjacent wood.

A couple hours later, after we had discovered that our ‘blind’ was not in the least concealed or even construed by the surrounding brush, and had been staring at our unnoticed bait for some time, and finished off some ten shots of espresso and some now cool cider, nature called. I quietly whispered to Jennifer that I was going to walk up the trail a little way and shed some coffee. I slowly and quietly made my way up the foot trail, looking for tracks to attempt to identify whatever had checked us out earlier. I didn’t see anything but boot prints from the two of us on the foot trail. Then I got up to the road and found fresh tracks. They were cat tracks, and they were in excess of four inches wide! They were wider than the tread on my boot, and sunk a good 3/8-inch into the soil at least. It’s fair to say that the animal was into the 200’s-lb range, judging only by the impression in the earth. “Oh holy *expletive*!” That’s what Jennifer heard from my position. We had come out to stalk and yet had become the stalked.

I knew that there were lions on the property, as I’ve seen their tracks of various sizes. This was by far the biggest of them to date. That makes about the fourth one, assuming that there aren’t any that are identically sized. It makes me wonder if we’re seeing a mother and her maturing cubs. Rumor has it that the young will stay with the mother for a couple of years. What’s really sad about our Saturday morning encounter though – I carry a tape measure in my pocket and there’s a 5-megapixel camera built into my phone, and I still didn’t think of taking any pics. *Sigh.* As much cougar activity as we’ve seen, I’m sure this won’t be the last encounter we have with the big cats.

I’m astounded at the proliferation of wildlife on the family property in recent years. When I was younger, it used to be the standard fare of birds, with a few deer and a den of coyotes. Once we found a boar skull, but there was no additional evidence of hogs at the time. The coyote population has obviously thinned out, possibly driven out by the cougars? Recently though, we’ve seen massive amounts of hoof marks, both pig and deer. There have been the distinct prints of a few coyotes, but not nearly like they used to be, smaller canine (possibly foxes?), and bobcats in addition to the aforementioned cougars. We saw what we are pretty sure were opossum and skunk tracks as well.

There are certain supplies that I really want on hand next time around. I’m actually starting a grocery list on my phone devoted to hunting supplies. I know that we’re going to be many hunting trips in before I actually feel like we’ve got most of what we’ll need – that’s just the way it seems to work. And so, we didn’t shoot anything this time. We still had fun. What’s fun about getting stalked by lions in the freezing dark for so long that your legs go to sleep? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to do it again!

Squirrel!

Yesterday, Jenni and I took steps to go further down the rabbit hole of gunniness. Neither of us have ever been hunting. I dispatched an errant rabbit once, but that was about the extent of my animal harvesting experience. The rabbit got hit with a 25-grain .22 CB Cap. The slug went in in front of the left shoulder and exited behind the right. The lungs were liquified and death instantaneous.

We had been scouting squirrel activity in a particular Sooper Sekrit location for months. Yesterday, Jenni and I woke up early (for a Saturday), gathered guns and ammo, swung by Academy to pick up our Resident Annual Hunting Licenses and continued on to said location. It was easily below freezing and the tree rats were not very active. Our boots and socks proved not to be sufficient insulation. However, I had some chemical toe warmers in my BOB that we employed. It ALWAYS pays to be prepared.

We saw only three or four large squirrels in the trees, but didn’t have much of a shot at any of them. Until one large female approached us towards noon. Jenni nearly got her several times with no success. It was not that she took a missing shot either. It was that the squirrel moved into a less shootable position before the trigger broke. It was when I had her sighted in that she stretched out and presented her left side, as though she heard a noise coming from that direction. I cracked the shot off. The animal sprung two feet straight up and collapsed into the brush below.

“Nice!” said Jenni. When we collected the game, we could not immediately see the injury. She looked so pristine in fact, that I put another shot into the base of her skull from point blank just to be sure. It wasn’t until we started skinning her that the initial shot was obvious. The shot went in just in front of the left shoulder and stopped at the lower rib cage on the right side. Lungs were liquified, death instantaneous. I don’t know why people complain about having to chase small game after the shot. Just destroy the lungs so you don’t have to worry about it! 😛 Honestly, if every hunting shot I take is so ideal, I’ll be shocked and feel very lucky.

The shot was at approximately 40-yards with a Winchester M69A (.22-lr bolt action), with a 26-inch barrel and a Lyman micrometer peep sight. I was shooting CCI .22 CB Caps again. This combination is so whisper quiet that hearing protection is laughably unnecessary. In fact, this is quickly becoming my hunting caliber of choice. It’s quiet, it’ accurate, and it’s devastatingly deadly. The animal was about 24-inches long from nose to the tip of the tail.

We skinned and processed it into meat before the carcass was cold, saving the heart (still intact), liver, and kidneys. I’m drying the tail as a trophy, Jenni is tanning the pelt, and I placed the head and paws on my brother’s front porch as a prank. He didn’t appreciate my humor, so I cleaned it up later because I felt bad.

jan 21 squirrel

Observations:
*I wish we had been able to take ten squirrels each, but it was not meant to be on this trip.
*Now, I want to shoot something bigger. I can’t wait until DanielS comes for our feral hog shoot. I hope I get a 500-lb sow! -But, not with .22 Short.
*While Jenni was sighting the animal in, she commented that her heart was racing. I had to smile, as I completely understood the sentiment.
*I now understand why some people devote their entire lives, every second of their free time in fact, to hunting. It is that gratifying.
*Although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I can understand how this is definitely not for everyone.
*Never eaten squirrel before, but there’s enough meat in the freezer from this one that it should make a lovely little dinner for the three of us.
*The toe warmers made the trip. Next time, I want a thermos of something hot to sip on as well. Spiced cider would have been a life saver.
*I now realize that I want to carry all kinds of meat packaging material, para cord, folding utility knives with those hook blades instead of the trapezoidal utility blades, latex gloves, hand wipes, and a shock and weather-proof digital camera.

Predation

Yeah, I know that I’ve wandered into quite the sticky subject here. I’ve had to mull this over quite a bit to organize my thoughts into something coherent enough to actually post. About six weeks ago, Peter posted a controversial op/ed concerning pedophiles. A couple days later, LabRat weighed in on the subject and garnered some bizarre commenting. Things started getting weird with the third commenter, whom LabRat wisely blocked after he had spouted quite a bit of… …his own *unique* opinion. Here is the chilling comment in question:

“Sex with a child and sex with an adult of your own gender isn’t just two flavors of “deviant sex”, it’s one flavor of sex versus rape.”

Ridiculous. Sex with a child is sex with a child. “Consent” is a trap, because its a legal term: no one signs a contract before making love.

Rape is rape: is when someone does not want to have sex and is forced to do so. But sex with a child can be consensual the same way any other sex can be consensual.

Consensual sex means two people that want to experience pleasure together, be it two adults, an adult and a child, two children… Saying that sex with a child is always “rape” is completely absurd because it ignores the desires and the longings of the child.

Depriving children from their sexual rights are what child molesters and society at large do: the former force their sexuality with the child, the latter deprive kids from their sexual impulses. Child sexual abuse is also saying that children cannot have sex: you are taken their sexual rights away.

Huh. That makes my hair stand up every time I read it. Let me switch gears here and put it in ways that make me feel a little less like hunting LabRat’s commenter down like an animal for the good of all of society. If you have read my blog, you know that I have a son. Wee Bot is twelve and a half years old. In Nigeria, South Korea, and Spain the legal age of consent is thirteen years old according to this source. There are reasons that this is accepted as too young to the vast majority of the civilized world.

Wee Bot is a good kid. If he were allowed to make his own decisions, he would likely switch to a strict diet of cane sugar and bacon, and he would abandon his school lessons so he could play video games full-time. Is he retarded? No, he’s TWELVE. If you believe like I do, God gives us parents to protect us and to make decisions for us because we are not capable of making our own decisions when we are children. For my non-believing friends, our parents are our decision-making caretakers for the survival of the species. The argument works pretty well either way. You have likely seen pictures of WeeBot shooting in the pages of this blog. What you may not see is me, his personal RSO, assuring that he is handling the gun in a safe manner – because although he’s good, he requires a guardian that watches over his safety. On the range I am his Range Safety Officer. Everywhere else, I’m his Life Safety Officer. He requires this and he deserves this.

Now, let’s go back to the subject at hand. If you do not believe that sexual activity is life changing, then you likely need to talk to a therapist yourself. You can find information about the effects of child sexual abuse here. From the linked article:

Depending on the severity of the incident, victims of sexual abuse may also develop fear and anxiety regarding the opposite sex or sexual issues and may display inappropriate sexual behavior. However, the strongest indication that a child has been sexually abused is inappropriate sexual knowledge, sexual interest, and sexual acting out by that child.

(Emphasis mine.) Read that as it is not normal for children to show an interest in sexuality. If one engages in sexual activity with a child because the child showed interest, they have just become part of the problem as the child is likely the victim of prior sexual abuse. Therefore, ‘consentual’ sex with a child, who is not capable of giving consent, is rape. How could any sane person deny this? No, scratch that. I’m not going to give LabRat’s commenter the excuse of insanity. Predation is not based on insanity, it is based on evil. The very attempt to rationalize it away as the commenter did is nothing short of pure evil. The snake in the garden wooed Eve into Original Sin not with threats or physical force but with the sweetest words and flawed rationalizations. Source.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Whether you believe the literal Garden of Eden story or not, this is an incredibly spot-on picture of not only human psychology as a whole, but also of evil and how evil makes its argument. As a parent, it’s my job to make sure Wee Bot does not get into a car with LabRat’s commenter. That is a horribly simplified and obvious statement to make, but that about says it all, doesn’t it? What I mean to say is that it is the parent’s responsibility, handed to them at the time of the child’s conception, to make sure the child is safely taught to be an adult by the time they reach adulthood. It is a huge task and most if not all parents fail at it at one point or another. I’m not saying that it is the parents’ fault if their kid gets diddled by the uncle, but they have a heavy responsibility to minimize Junior’s interactions with possible threats. Who will abuse my child? Nobody if I can help it, and I’m going to use any and all advantages at my disposal to that end.

I have additional thoughts on the age of consent and how we can’t effectively fight the sexual education problems until we come to some sanity there. But, that’s going to have to wait for a subsequent entry as this one has already gotten entirely too long.

Those who shoot together…

The fellowship of the gun is a powerful bonding experience. Sure, when you run the machine in the zone, there is you, your target, and the gun connecting you. Everything else dulls and fades out as though time is slowing down all around the little tunnel that the shot is going to follow. But, to have your best friend and lover there to cheer your greatest shots and offer a “you’ll do better next time” for the botched ones – there is little else that compares except of course, being on the other end of that interchange.

Read the whole post here.

Further thought: I once had a beautiful vendor representative ask if I’d go to the gun range with her. The first response that came to mind (which I did restrain) was that I’d be better off sleeping with her as it might be less of a betrayal to my wife. LOL! Needless to say, I did not go shooting with her.

Lost Blog

It is with great sadness that I have had to delete Boobs, Injuries, & Dr. Pepper from my blogroll. Crystal leaves these words in the only entry that remains on her website:

I am not giving glory to God here. I’m proud of some of the things I’ve written but a lot of the stuff here brings me shame and I don’t want that to be part of my path now. I’m going a different direction.

I understand abandoning the blog, (trust me, i do) but to delete all entries except for the ‘good-bye’ post? Then again, it’s hard to blame her for her decision to tear down all her work given her reasoning. It’s fair to say that none of us are proud of every single thing we’ve said or done. If you were given the chance to take it all, as in everything back for a fresh start at it all, would you be tempted? Not that I would, but given the opportunity, it might be tempting.

I’ve enjoyed reading her posts off and on for many years now. Some of her stories brought me the kind of riotous laughter that made my eyes tear up. I will never forget some of them, even if they are no longer accessible online. She has that rare talent to capture those notable moments in life and then retell them in the most entertaining way possible. We’ve all heard young children say things in their ignorance that were simply hilarious. It’s difficult to note these high points and then recount them properly. I will miss her talent in doing so. In some small way, it feels something like the death of a friend.

Several people in my blogroll go through periods of absence, and I’ve left them there anyway. Frankly, when the material is good enough, I would consider leaving an extinct blog on the blogroll. But, when one has been stripped as this one has, I don’t really see any choice but to say goodbye. Crystal, I’m sad to see you go. I wish I knew where you were blogging now, but I can appreciate the need for a clean start. Wherever you go and whatever you do, I wish you success and prosperity and God’s blessings. Take care of that hilarious family of yours, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Shooting in Tucson

There is mourning and there are accusations of guilt. But, I’m not going to focus on those things. I’m not here to write about the tragedy, the losses, the crime, the cause, or any of those things. I want to take a moment to write about the heroes and their enormous victory on January 8, 2011. I don’t at all want to minimize the victims in this situation, but our heroes deserve some serious recognition.

The fact is that Joe Zamudio, one of the citizens who tackled the shooter, who was armed at the time more than likely limited the victim count to 20 instead of the capacity of all the ammo the deranged lunatic had on him. He didn’t run away from the gunfire like a sensible person would, he ran into it to try to help.

Col. Bill Badger, 74 years old, was another one. He was actually shot in the head prior to tackling the shooter. Dude has big old brass ones swinging back and forth. When I’m 74 I can only dream I’ll be tough enough to get shot in the head and then take down a 22 year old.

I have a feeling that Daniel Hernandez will get a promotion if Giffords can recover and resume work. If he was my intern and did something like that, I’d make sure to make him a nice job offer.

And 61-year-old Patricia Maisch focused through her own panic to wrestle the ammunition out of the hands of the killer. Getting knocked down, watching people all around shot dead, most people in her place would have just gone into shock. But not her. She stared death in the face and said, ‘not today.’

This story is not a failure, it is a success. Yes, the lives lost and affected are tragic, but this is so far removed from the worst case scenario. I haven’t seen any reports on how much ammo he had on him, but if he had two 15-rounders that came with the gun in addition to the two 33-round mags reported, we’re talking about nearly a hundred shots that he could have fired if good people had done nothing. Even Christina Green’s dad made the statement that he’s thankful for our freedoms, even if this is the risk. Wow!

As a side note:

Police have said the gunman did manage to put another magazine into his firearm, but its spring failed.

We can learn from the mistakes of the BG. Make sure all your equipment works!

Michael’s Simple Guide to a Long and Happy Marriage

Jennifer and I are coming up on our 12-year wedding anniversary on Sunday. We’re still very much in love. When they meet us, people usually assume that we are newlyweds because we are that into each other. We have not done anything complicated, and the ‘work’ has not been hard. Not only am I completely willing to give away our secrets to success, I would hope that everyone could be at least as happy as we are. So, I wanted to jot down a few points here to hopefully help others.

1 – Put your spouse first, before anyone else on the planet. That includes yourself, your kids, your parents, your siblings, or your best friend. Everyone else plays second fiddle to your spouse. That is not in any way to say that you should neglect your other loved ones and their needs, just that they should never take precedence over your spouse. Setting your spouse aside to give anyone else more of yourself will tear at your marriage. I don’t care who the person is or what is the nature of the relationship.

2 – Have fun with your spouse. Take up hobbies together. Gardening, kayaking, origami, target shooting, stamp collecting, para-sailing, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever you like to do, like to do it with your spouse. You have choices to make, and you can choose to grow together or grow apart. If you don’t make the choice, you are leaving it to chance that you and your spouse may have interests and beliefs develop separate from each other, and ultimately you will grow apart. Plan differently.

3 – Don’t rely on hormones or passion. The romance will naturally ebb and flow. In the times that you aren’t really into your spouse, they should still be your favorite person for other reasons. Love will make the passion return. In the cooler times, I find that I love my wife more as a friend than a lover. That bond of friendship actually causes the heat to come back into the relationship. If you have an opposite gender ‘best friend’ other than your spouse, who are you going to be giving your attention to when the passion in your marriage has cooled? If the passion returns at that point, will it be between you and your spouse, or you and your ‘best friend’? And you can’t tell me, “It’s not like that.” It is always exactly like that. I’ve seen more marriages than I can count come apart at the seams for just this reason. It’s always tragic.

4 – Always pursue. People like to be sought after. Make your spouse feel special. Never take on the mindset that you’ve already won them over. Your spouse is not tame nor domestic. Your spouse is a wild creature who has made a choice to give you their time. Don’t take that for granted. Never get too comfortable in your marriage. Never let yourself go – physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally.

5 – Be silly together. Make your spouse laugh. I don’t care if you have to contrive a situation or do something to humiliate yourself. If you can cause the two of you to go into fits of giggles, it will be more valuable than many hours of marriage counseling. My mom does marriage counseling, and I don’t think she would mind too terribly if she worked her way out of the job. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I can’t disagree.

6 – Date each other. This goes along with number four. Just because you are married doesn’t mean that you don’t need a break, or a good time. On the contrary, two people trying to make ends meet in the real world more than anyone else need a break from life once in a while. Hire a sitter and go out for a night on the town – a romantic dinner or to the club for dancing or base jumping (I kid, of course). While you are out, you are not allowed to talk about the kids, the tough time at work, financial struggles, or any of the ugly real-world stuff that clutters up your attention. If you are taking a break, really take the break! Just relax with each other and enjoy each other.

7 – Communication, communication, communication! Speak your mind plainly and clearly to your spouse, especially when it feels like you can’t. 90% of the altercations that Jennifer and I have had with each other are based on miscommunication. And, we in particular communicate very well. It is so easy to misunderstand. If your spouse becomes inappropriately upset by something you said, try rephrasing it. I’d be willing to bet that they aren’t going insane so much as they took the wrong meaning from what you said.

8 – No secrets. This goes along with number seven. I’m not saying that you can’t hide your spouse’s Christmas present or that you should blurt out every little thing that goes through your mind without first considering that it might be hurtful. But, don’t tell your buddies, “What he(she) doesn’t know won’t hurt him(her).” If you are doing something that you can’t let your spouse know about, chances are you shouldn’t be doing that in the first place. Such things will catch up with you in the end, and they will destroy a marriage.

9 – Take care of each other. Be sensitive and regard each other’s feelings. Too often people fall into the habit of acting as if they don’t have to be as reserved with someone that they share their life with. If you stop and think about it, this is psychotic. Who in the world would you want to treat nicer than the one that you are sleeping with? Simply from a tactical standpoint, I uniquely let my guard down to Jennifer in the form of hours of uninterrupted unconsciousness every night! If I gave her an excuse to want to do me harm, I’d literally be asking for physical trouble. Besides that, I like her and want her to treat me nicely as well.

10 – Forgiveness. If you can do everything that I’ve outlined here with absolutely no slip-ups or exceptions, then you are some kind of super human who is unfit for marriage, as you would make any spouse look bad. Otherwise, I will assume that you and your spouse are each imperfect creatures that will fail each other from time to time. If your spouse falls, be the first one there to help them back to their feet. Expect the same of them. When mistakes happen, keep moving. Figure out what you have to do to get past the hurt. Some wounds run deep and may take time to deal with. Commit to deal with them.

To summarize, give your spouse your highest capable level of respect, trust, honesty, adventure, romance, idle time, humor, friendship, and forgiveness. Guaranteed, you will have a long and happy marriage. To that end, I’m going to take this time to practice what I preach. So, here on my blog, this little corner of the interwebtron, where I waste valuable bandwidth on my ramblings, I’d like to address my bride directly, witnessed by whoever has nothing better to do than to come here…

…better yet! Maybe I’ll hijack her blog and tell her what I think of her there!

Comment # 666

Wai writes:

If you file for unemployment, you can probably get your state’s unemployment agency to pay for your college classes, if you meet the qualifications. And don’t think of it as “feeding off the system” because your former employer’s unemployment insurance payments to the state pays for these services, for the most part.

As for me, I finally got a job interview next week.

I would have never guessed that Wai was the Antichrist. 😀

The thought of going back to school is becoming more and more plausible. I really am going to check and see what the laws in OK are. I hope your job interview goes well!

11/16/09 Update

There’s mixed news today.

On the up-side, my Kevlar thread and Vectran yarn came in. I’m really looking forward to putting it in some sturdy leather! Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to parade out some holsters like you’ve never seen before in the not-so-distant future. My ultimate goal is to offer the best looking, toughest holster that you can get. I’m confident the little improvements will eventually get me there.

On the down-side, we still aren’t out of the woods on our whole situation. I’m feeling a lot better about it today, but still freaked out. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support! The biggest thing Jenni, The Kiddo and I have going for us currently is our support system – which has ironically taken a hit recently. But, that’s the way life rolls, and if you don’t roll with the punches, you get run over.

That’s about all I’ve got for now.

Prayer Request IV (Urgent)

I previously posted about a prayer request. An event occurred today that has me really freaked out. I plead for your prayers. This could totally suck. Right now, I’m trying to tell myself that I’m freaking out for nothing, and everything is going to be just fine. I want to believe that is true, and I think it is true. But, if this goes south, I very literally may not live through it. I don’t think it will go south. I’ve been through this particular struggle before. It was the single most harrowing experience I’ve ever had, and I’m set up for it better this time. Of course, any traumatic experience rearing its ugly head again will cause that irrational fear. This will not be my last blog entry, but I’m scared. I don’t like being scared. I like to know that everything is going well.

Things have been going well for a while now. A couple months ago, I actually wondered when we’d reach the next bump in the road. Well, we have now. I’m still not ready, in my heart. But, I will do everything that I can. I need all your prayers right now. What I was hoping against is what I’m staring at right now. It feels as though my head is in the cobra’s mouth.

My boss was a bank manager. One time, there was a robbery. The robber assaulted the bank with a .22 caliber hand gun. He said that when that thing was pointed at him it was “THIS BIG!!!” He used his hands in a 2-inch circle to show the muzzle from his perspective. I’m hoping that’s what this cobra is. Always the optimist, I’m not going to let go of the idea that it may not be nearly as bad as I perceive it.

Anyway, for the fourth time, I ask for your prayers, this time more than ever before.